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by Abigail Van Buren

Bullied Sister Counts Days Until She Leaves for College

DEAR ABBY: I have a very toxic relationship with my older sister. I still live at home, although I'll be leaving for college in a few years.

Abby, she has been emotionally abusing me for years. It got so bad at one point that I considered suicide. I don't believe I would ever go through with it, but it scared me. She makes sarcastic comments about anything from my weight to what I want as my career. My parents never do anything about it.

I try to avoid her, but it's impossible because of the close living quarters. I don't know how to stop her. She has said she would stop before, but she doesn't, so I no longer believe she's sincere when she occasionally apologizes. -- BULLIED IN MY OWN HOUSE

DEAR BULLIED: Suicide is not the answer. Face it. Your sister is an unhappy individual who enjoys belittling others. She may do it because she's frustrated with her own life, or simply because she can.

The way to deal with people like her -- and there are many -- is to change the way you react to them. There is a saying that applies here: "Just because a jackass brays doesn't mean you have to take it to heart." The next time your sister makes a sarcastic comment, repeat that "mantra" to yourself and it may lessen the sting she's trying to inflict.

Remember, you won't always have to live with her. In the future, she may wonder why the two of you aren't close. When she asks that question -- and she may -- feel free to tell her.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Abuse | Teens